So we’re building a pool…

…and up until this morning things were going rather well.  Because of the rain last week, our builder couldn’t get started until the middle of this week, but over the past few days it’s been a well-oiled machine.  They excavated the hole Wednesday, and Thursday and Friday were spent putting down the rebar and the various pipes in preparation for the cement (“gunite”), the most complicated of the processes.

And, I should also add, the noisiest.

Now, I have to go back a bit to before the construction began.  I’m a member of my HOA’s Architectural Review Committee, and our bylaws ask homeowners to submit plans for such projects like pools and fences and sheds for review/approval before construction begins.  I believe we were the first family to actually follow this guideline, as there have been at least two other pools spring up in our neighborhood without any prior by-your-leave. That sounds a bit snooty, and as a committee we’ve always been considerate to our homeowners’ requests, but still…we have guidelines for a reason, people.

I excused myself from the review committee for our plans, of course, while the other two guys on the committee (who I really like as people, I’m going to say right now, and consider them friends) reviewed the plans and made sure we were taking into account all the variances and such.  That took some time. Perhaps because the previous pool owners did not go through ANY steps before building, and we were determined to do this right (and hopefully establish some precedent for future pool construction in our neighborhood), we were asked to go around to all our neighbors (not just adjacent houses; nine households, total) and inform them of the upcoming construction and have them sign that they were informed.  Finally, the chair of our committee told me before he signed off on the plans, we would have to agree that there would be no gunite work on the weekends (our HOA guidelines don’t prohibit work on Saturdays, though, and the city allows work beginning at 7:00 A.M).

Now, we had submitted plans to them in mid-December, and their approval came in the middle of February.  But, okay, we could get rolling now that that was done.  We had every intention of abiding by that final request, and so, after the rain and our builders’ schedules lined up, we got started this past week.

Here’s where things went south.

The weather has so far been cooperating with our building schedule, but there are thunderstorms forecast for the first few days of next week.  We are also having a pool house built (scheduled to start next week), but that start date depends on the pool having the gunite process completed.  So…what to do?  If we didn’t go ahead with the gunite on Saturday, the schedule for EVERYTHING would be pushed back by at least a week.  Also, and more importantly to us, heavy rain could effect the pool excavation, leading to possible structural concerns due to erosion, affecting the rebar skeleton and so forth.  So we made the call to it get it done Saturday.

So you, reader, can decide for yourself if we made a reasonable decision, or are horrible neighbors.

The gunite people got started early – at 7:00 A.M they turned on the machines and damn, if it wasn’t loud.  Not continuous, mind you, but there was a loud buzzing signal that occurred regularly as the gunite was being sprayed into the pit.  My wife and I were conscious of this, and I was just praying that it wasn’t as loud to our neighbors.

It apparently was.

Laura decided to go for a run since she was up, and about 10 minutes later the head of our ARC, the one who asked us not to have gunite work done on weekends, rang my doorbell. I walked out to the porch and he immediately started yelling at me. Screaming at me, really, asking me what was going on, why they were working, insulting me and saying I had just made an enemy in him.  I’m not confrontational – I apologized time and again, attempting to explain why we made the decision, but he wasn’t interested in that.  And I could understand the aggravation, if not the screaming.  Then he told me his wife had just lost her mother this past Tuesday and had just gotten back last night. Yeah, I felt like shit. He stormed off, leaving me to wait for Laura and feeling pretty damned bad about, oh, everything.  Then, 10 minutes later, he and his wife came back and continued the berating.  I asked our pool guy if they could stop for a while – he had them stop for about an hour.  My neighbor and his wife left, leaving me alone once again.

It took so long for Laura to get back that I recognized she must have run into them after her run.  She had, and when she returned my neighbor was with her.

One of the MANY reasons I love my wife is her ability to stay calm/rational in tense situations.  One of the reasons she’s a doctor, I suppose. She had apparently been informed by another one of our neighbors about the confrontation at our house, and went to talk to Mr and Mrs. ARC (<–  not trying to be flippant here, just want to clarify pronouns).  She went through the reasons why we made our decision, and the fact that we had to make the gunite decision late made it impractical to let them know.  Told them that we were willing to put them up in a hotel for the day, if that would help, and basically smoothed enough feathers that Mr. ARC came back to apologize to me for his behavior.  He was very apologetic about it, telling me he knew we were good neighbors/not self-absorbed/trying to do the right thing, etc.  As I said before,  I consider him a friend, and I apologized in return (again) for the situation. It still didn’t keep me from being tense for the rest of the morning. And that was before I found out that our neighbor across the street called the police at about 8:45 about the noise. Yes, that actually happened. Our pool guy had a brief conversation with the officer who showed up.

So, basically, it was a perfect storm of events that led to this morning’s unpleasantness.  Yes, I think we were at fault for going ahead with the gunite process on a Saturday morning, but with the circumstances being what they were, there was some justification for doing it.  Also, not to make light of the decision, but, as my wife said about the request not to have gunite work on the weekends, it was  “more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.” (We love the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie).

Above all, I’m very glad our relationship with Mr. and Mrs. ARC is still intact.  They are wonderful people.

2 Responses to “So we’re building a pool…”

  1. Jennifer Marvel Says:

    Geez. If the HOA guidelines don’t prohibit it, and the city allows work starting at 7, then your neighbors don’t really have a leg to stand on! I’ve been woken up by city crews working on assorted projects, too, as well as barking dogs, car alarms, and so on… it’s annoying but nothing over which you should verbally assault your neighbor. Wow. Hope the rest of the process goes smoothly for y’all. (And right now, I am quietly celebrating the fact that our neighborhood does NOT have an HOA.)

  2. Damn. A neighbor telling you “you’ve made an enemy”? That’s a bit over-dramatic, don’t you think? And like Jennifer says, you weren’t breaking any rules. And as for going through the HOA process, no good deed goes unpunished. Bet you won’t be making that mistake again, huh? 🙂

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